Community arts matter to our individual and collective wellness. A creative community is happier, healthier and more productive. Everyone at every age benefits when their local culture nurtures opportunities for creative engagement and learning. Community arts address an important public health need because the experience reduces stress and provides a common ground for belonging and inclusiveness. Sharing arts experience with friends and peers helps us better understand ourselves and other cultures, and brings meaning to the things and traditions we care about. It’s a way we celebrate life together.
The positive impacts of community arts are many more than can be described in this letter. They offer creative enrichment for people, and like all aspects of a community, what’s good for the individual is good for the whole. In my work teaching therapeutic arts, I’ve seen the value of community arts in a group experience. I’m the founder of Art HOPE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting creative wellness through free expressive arts programs for people living with cancer or long-term illness, and the community at large, in collaboration with schools, health organizations, and arts groups in Maine. It is important to support the arts and wellness because it is how we can grow and sustain healthy communities.
The Bangor Savings Bank Foundation recognizes this need and will be awarding grants to nonprofit organizations through the Community Matters More initiative at bangor.com/cmm. During February 2019, Maine residents can vote online to support Art HOPE and other nonprofits who are making a difference locally. Learn more about creative wellness and our community arts programs at www.arthope.org.

Laura Jaquays

Ogunquit

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